Have you noticed how people use the word “whisperer,” where they once used “guru?” Both terms imply a super-normal expertise, in some cases justified. I’d love to have the Dog Whisperer visit our home! Meanwhile, a quick check revealed you get 13,800,000 hits when you google on “blog whisperer?”
Last year, at a local writer’s conference, a “social media expert” who I think called himself a blog whisperer, offered to critique the blogs of those willing to come for the pre-session and pay $20. That’s a bargain compared to the first blog whisperer to pop up on google, who charges $900 for a 90 day course on how to speak with “the voice of your soul.”
Think about that. Though we might balk at the price, we live in a world that accepts the idea of hiring a coach to teach us to speak from our soul. Afterwards, I guess we can look for a seminar on how to reclaim our power.
We live in a world of specialization and necessarily rely on experts in every phase of our lives. In many cases, I think it’s a boon. Those who long for the good old days are not in the throes of a toothache or facing surgery.
I have nothing against experts. I like to have them around when the car breaks down or I break down. For the garden, or home repairs, or internet security.
Yet something within us demands room to make our own discoveries and mistakes. To come to our own conclusions. To find out where we stand on things, what we really believe, regardless of the experts.
I used to think of writing as such an activity, but no longer. Google on “writing, how to” and you get 1.9 trillion hits. That’s a lot of whisperers!
The one little niche that is still free and clear, as far as I can see, is blogging, a medium that is unique because it allows us to think out loud in public. For me, it is like a journal, a place to explore ideas, but the threat and promise of the “Publish” button forces me to go a step further. When I pull the weeds from a first draft, I may find the seed of a new idea, or two, or three, or none. Sometimes a draft lies fallow for weeks, and sometimes I publish within the hour. More than a few get deleted. One time I hit “Publish” when I meant to “Save” and got some practice in really fast editing.
I’ve heard some expert advice on blogging, and tend to ignore it all. Before you say, “I knew it,” let me tell you what I mean – tips like:
- Don’t write more than 250 words in a post.
- Do not write about politics or religion.
- Pick a single theme for your blog and stick to it.
The feedback I really take seriously comes from readers. First there are simply the stats; people vote with their eyeballs. Beyond that, is the power of even a single comment.
I’ve recently gotten enthralled, as I have in the past, with looking at old stories and legends. When Adam, who blogs at Reviews and Ramblings http://blizzerd03.wordpress.com/ said he likes such posts, that was all the confirmation I needed. “Yeah, this is road I have to follow.” I value some of your comments more than 1.9 trillion articles on how to write.
As I have quoted more than once, as Joseph Campbell told the legends of the Holy Grail, he said every knight sought their own path into the forest; it would have been shameful to follow another’s trail.
This post is a way of thanking you all and a wish that we may all find our own way through the forest.
Thanks for this very refreshing post! Will be back to visit.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you will return.
Social Media Expert? Wow, not something I’d ever imagine trying to claim credit as.
Anytime you do anything there are going to be millions of people with their own advice that can try to tell you how to do it better. When it comes to blogging, the first piece of advice I would give would be very similar to advice I give when talking about bowling. In both bowling and blogging, there are very few things you can do that are actually wrong, which is why you see so many different styles of bowlers and bloggers. No one style is ever going to appeal to everyone, but if you enjoy what you’re doing you’ll get better at it as you refine your style further.
“if you enjoy what you’re doing you’ll get better at it as you refine your style further”
I agree. And as you read others, you see things you like and things you don’t, which sink in and become automatic.
Respect thy audience. *nods in agreement* It’s a lost commandment.
(To expand Adam’s analogy: two people can discuss bowling all day long, but no amount of coaching knocks down pins! Throw, cuss if necessary, adjust what you are doing, throw again.) (Wait, does someone now owe me $900?)
Thanks for stopping by! So yes, that’s $900 + $0.02. You can just put it on my tab.
As someone who does occasionally coach and has received coaching in the past I’m going to say that it is helpful, if for no other reason than you have a different set of eyes watching your game.
I’m also very guilty of throwing things and swearing when I throw a bad shot, that much I think is just part of the game and part of getting better at anything.
I transferred colleges in my junior year and still had one semester of PE to finish. This was a big school with a bowling alley, so I signed up for bowling. They gave us some pointers, said practice a lot, learn how the ball curves for you, and here are some ways to repeat what works. Even though I haven’t bowled in years, I can still bowl without embarrassing myself. I have no problem at all with that kind of coaching.
When I started blogging, I attended a Calif. Writer’s Club seminar. They brought in a guy who makes his living in Silicon Valley with eight blogs and a host of advertisers. I think I paid about $75, and it was worth it. I walked away after six hours with a blog and a password, a knowledge of nuts and bolts, and places to go to learn more. I don’t mind taking a class to avoid the need to rediscover the wheel.
The teacher even offered to help people, if they wanted, turn blogging into a money making venture, and he had the credentials. Once you were up and running in that mode, he would take a certain percentage of income for six months, or something like that. Again, that was straight up business proposition and it doesn’t trouble me.
Last fall, an issue of a writing magazine came, with the usual titles listed on the cover: “Eight steps to richer characters.” “What agents are looking for now.” That kind of thing. I hit my saturation point. That magazine and the ones that came after are sitting in the garage, still in their shrink-wrap. I don’t think I’m going to renew. And I find myself bristling when I come across blogging suggestions that smack of that.
I don’t know how to gather statistics on subject matter of published articles over a given year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if writing about how to write topped the list.
It’s tricky, because we all want to learn our craft, but at a certain point, the irresistible urge for me is to walk away and give my attention to other things.
Your blog works because:
1. You write well
2. You have interesting, intelligent things to say that are molded by your unique voice/perspective
That’s all that matters.
Wow, thanks Amy. I’ll have to write posts like this more often!
Thank you Morgan for confirming what I already believed. I am glad your voice is out here 🙂
Thanks, JT, and right back atcha!
Good post. Good comments. I echo Amy Rogers. Oh, and by the way, I can’t bowl without embarrassing myself!
My bowling self-assessment may need revision, since I haven’t been in five or six years, since the occasion of a children’s party. At least the kids didn’t point and laugh at me.